Courtesy of DREW SABLON

A car fire rages at Kailin Hill on Thursday.

Firefighters in Kodiak responded to two fires on Thursday evening, the day after a near-statewide burn ban was lifted in most areas of Alaska.

The first was a wildland fire that occurred on the backside of Pillar Mountain, said city Fire Chief Jim Mullican. City firefighters and medics were dispatched at 7:08 p.m., and additional help was requested from Bayside Volunteer Fire Department.

In total, 17 personnel responded to the fire, which was completely under control by 10:33 p.m. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. 

About 20 minutes after the Pillar Mountain fire was extinguished, city firefighters were sent to Kalsin Hill to douse flames that had broken out in a car after it ran into a guardrail. Firefighters extinguished the fire in 10 minutes. 

Mullican said that to the best of their knowledge, the car had two occupants. The victims found a ride going toward town, and an ambulance met them at Coast Guard Station Kodiak.

The two occupants had sustained injuries, but because regulations in place protect their personal information, Mullican could not comment on the extent of the injuries or the state of the victims. He would not comment on any additional information about the accident or the victims.

Drew Sablon, a business owner and Chiniak resident, said he was driving by the area around 10:30 p.m. and saw the car ablaze with 15-foot flames. 

Sablon said there were two men trying to contain the fire with a small extinguisher. They had been camping when the fire started and they heard two or three explosions. 

“The car came into the curve too hot and skidded right into the guard rail and bounced off of that and leaked gas and caught fire,” Sablon said. He added that he saw a headlight in the middle of the road and a license plate that was blown off the front of the car and was out in the bushes.

Mullican said that although the state lifted the burn ban last week, Kodiak still is at high risk for wildfires and therefore people must be cautious and follow fire safety protocols. 

“The statewide burn ban has been lifted, but that doesn’t mean it is fire safe. Fire danger right now is moderate to high here because of dryness, so anyone who is going to have a fire needs to make sure they have a burn permit and follow our standard protocols,” he said. 

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